Barbara Sobel’s significant background in education and business, as well as her civic and philanthropic endeavors, has awarded her the success of bringing people together and building networks of support in both fundraising and awareness, specifically in Health, Education and the Arts. If you were to ask Mrs. Sobel, what her greatest fulfillment was, she would unequivocally respond, bringing people together in support of worthy causes.
Barbara Sobel has had the unique opportunity of impacting the lives of those in the countries that she has resided in while having the privilege of representing the United States with her husband, as Ambassador to both the Netherlands and Brazil.
While in the Netherlands, Mrs. Sobel was the Founder of the Holland-American Friendship Foundation, a foundation supporting educational and cultural programs, including, among others, The Fulbright Program and Humanity in Action.
While in Brazil, she was the Founder and Chairperson of Americas Amigas, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness on the importance of early detection of breast cancer to diminish the cause of death among women. It’s mission is to fight breast cancer by providing mammogram exams, training courses to health technicians and doctors, and awareness campaigns.
Mrs. Sobel is one of the longest serving members of the Kean University Board. As a Trustee, she was a supporter of establishing Kean University – Wenzhou, one of China’s first American style university. As President of the Sobel Family Supporting Foundation, she established a scholarship to allow American students the opportunity of studying in China.
The Sobel Family Foundation, under her leadership, supports global initiatives, as well as community initiatives, involving healthcare, education and the arts.
Mrs. Sobel serves on the Board of Opportunity Project, a unique program created by and for adults with brain injuries by providing support, challenge and choices that create independence and productivity, and whose ultimate goal is full integration back into family, work and community.
Her philanthropic endeavors while residing in New Jersey, has included serving as VP of Daughters of Israel and sitting on the Executive Board, the Federation Board and the Women’s Board of the Federation of MetroWest.
Mrs. Sobel is engaged with the arts and serves on the FAPE Board, Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies, a non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting cultural diplomacy and the United States’ image abroad through American Art. She has recently been appointed to the Bienel International Advisory Board in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Previously, she served on the Rijksmuseum International Advisory Board in the Netherlands.
Mrs. Sobel was a three term Commissioner on the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, responsible for the sports, stadiums and race tracks in New Jersey.
Her political career includes being a Delegate at Large for the 2004 Republican National Convention, 2004 Republican Campaign: Member of the Regents, Pioneers and Rangers for the Republican Party; serving on the Platform Committee and Subcommittee on Foreign Policy and Homeland Security, Chaired the Inaugural of Governor Whitman, Vice-Chair of the Christine Todd-Whitman Series and Greater Roles and Opportunities for Women, and led fact finding missions to both Israel and Russia.
Mrs. Sobel’s professional career began as an elementary school teacher followed by a career as a senior executive in sales and marketing in the retail and cosmetic industries.